SC politics: Senate gives key OK to bill to appoint adjutant general

May 20, 2014 

Senate gives key OK to bill to appoint adjutant general

S.C. lawmakers took a big step Tuesday to allowing voters the chance to decide whether to stop electing the state’s adjutant general.

The S.C. Senate gave a key approval unanimously to a bill that would allow voters to change the state Constitution to allow the governor to appoint the adjutant general with approval by the Senate.

The House already passed that bill and another that lists the qualifications for a leader of the state National Guard. South Carolina is the last state to elect the leader of its state National Guard.

The Senate needs to take one more perfunctory vote on each of the two bills before it can return the bills to House since amendments were added.

Once the details are ironed out, the bills would head to Gov. Nikki Haley’s desk. She supports the bill, her office said. First Gentleman Michael Haley is a captain in the S.C. National Guard, who returned in December from a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan.

If passed before the session ends, voters would cast ballots on the change in November. The adjutant general’s race this fall would be the last if approved by voters. Current Adjutant General Bob Livingston, who is seeking re-election, supports the governor appointing the guard leader.

Meanwhile, the S.C. House gave a key approval to a bill by a 97-2 vote that ratifies putting the governor and lieutenant governor on the same ticket in 2018.

The change to the state Constitution was OK’d by voters in 2012. The state Senate has approved the combined ticket, and the House needs one more perfunctory vote.

Graham’s sister stars in new ad for GOP incumbent

In U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s new campaign ads, his younger sister talks about how her older brother took care of her after the deaths of their parents.

The six-figure statewide media buy includes two television and two radio ads. In them, Graham’s sister, Darline Graham Nordone, talks about her older brother, and how she looked up to him.

“He’s just always been there for me as long as I can remember. My parents, since they had to work a lot, Lindsey was kind of the one there that took care of me. If I fell down and scraped my knee, Lindsey was the one I ran to.”

The siblings’ parents, who owned a pool hall and restaurant in Central, died within 15 months of each other when Graham was in college at the University of South Carolina and his sister was 13 years old.

Graham arranged for Darline to move in with an aunt and uncle in Seneca and continued school, coming home on the weekends to be with her.

“It was hard when we lost my mom and my dad,” Darline says. “Lindsey assured me that he was going to take care of me, he was going to be there for me. He never let me down. Never.”

Graham became his sister’s legal guardian before he joined the U.S. Air Force so that he could provide insurance and benefits for her.

The Seneca Republican faces six Republicans in the June 10 primary: Columbia Pastor Det Bowers, state Sen. Lee Bright of Spartanburg; Easley businessman Richard Cash; Orangeburg attorney Bill Connor; Columbia attorney Benjamin Dunn; and Charleston businesswoman Nancy Mace.

Law criminalizes lying about military service

A new S.C. law makes it a crime for someone to falsely claim military service to personally profit.

The law signed by Gov. Nikki Haley makes the lie a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $500 fine.

Retired Marine Maj. Gen. James Livingston praised lawmakers Tuesday for passing a bill defending true sacrifice. The Medal of Honor recipient says it disturbs him that people make such bogus claims while military service members are being killed and wounded.

The law is a state version of the federal Stolen Valor Act, which revived a broader law struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2012, the high court ruled it may be disreputable to lie about receiving a medal, but it’s protected speech.

Plan to name interchange for state representative hits roadblock

A measure to name an interchange on Hilton Head’s Cross Island Parkway for state Rep. Andy Patrick, R-Beaufort, could falter when it reaches the state Senate.

The resolution, which has passed the House of Representatives, would ask the state Department of Transportation to post signs designating part of the road network the “Representative Andy Patrick Interchange.”

Passage in the Senate doesn’t look promising, though. The proposal would require the support of Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, and Davis said he won’t back the bill. His coolness has nothing to do with Patrick’s record as a legislator, Davis said. Rather, Davis said he consistently has “opposed naming roads or other public infrastructure in honor of legislators.”

Without Davis’ backing, prospects for naming the interchange after Patrick are bleak. Such measures can be considered by the full Senate only if the senator whose district would be affected – Davis in this case – asks the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee to move it forward.

In January, Patrick, R-Hilton Head, ended his campaign for state superintendent of education after news accounts of his personal financial problems. He also said he would leave the Legislature when his term ends later this year.

The resolution to honor Patrick was sponsored by Republican Lowcountry Reps. Bill Herbkersman, Weston Newton and Ken Hodges.

Governor’s schedule, activities

Gov. Nikki Haley’s publicly announced schedule for the rest of this week, released Monday night by her staff, is:

Wednesday – Participate in the Republican Governors Association’s spring meetings, New York

Friday, 7 p.m. – Deliver the commencement address at Orangeburg Preparatory Schools’ graduation ceremony, Orangeburg

According to her staff, Haley’s activities last week included:

11 – Meetings concerning state policy

5 – Media interviews

4 each – Legislative meetings; also, meetings concerning state agencies, including a meeting with Department of Natural Resources board chairman Glenn McFadden; also, ceremonial duties, including a photo opportunity with students from Thomas Jefferson Academy, presenting proclamations proclaiming Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, Safe Boating Week, and Speech-Language and Audiologists Month

1 each – Economic development meeting; also, an emergency preparedness exercise; also, a meeting with Maj. Gen. John Rossi, director of the Army’s Quadrennial Defense Review; also, constituent meetings; also, a visit to an adaptive yoga class; also, a speech, to the 2014 Department of South Carolina Military Order of the Purple Heart state convention

Busiest day – Tuesday, with 10 activities

Slowest day – Friday, with four activities

Andrew Shain, Jamie Self, The Associated Press, The Island Packet of Hilton Head and Staff Reports

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